Still life paintings from the Dutch Golden Age reimagined by flower artist

Artist and self-confessed colour obsessive Rebecca Louise Law has previously referred to her work as “painting with flowers” and her current exhibition, Still Life: Sculpture & Prints by Rebecca Louise Law, at the Broadway Gallery in Letchworth, Hertfordshire is probably the most literal translation of this yet. The artist, who is most famous for her atmospheric overhead floral installations in the likes of Nagasaki, New York, London and Berlin  – the latest included 8,000 blooms suspended from a 20 foot ceiling in a San Francisco gallery – has recreated famous paintings from the Dutch Golden Age using real flowers that will wilt and decay. Referencing works by artists including Balthasar van der Ast, Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder and Jan Davidsz. de Heem, in  some of her displays – such as de Heem’s Festoon of Fruit and Flowers – Rebecca has also integrated tiny figurines surrounded by flora to remind onlookers to dwell on the relationship between nature and humans. Fruit, shells, insects and taxidermy are also present in the resplendent works.

Rebecca Louise Law | Dutch Masters reworked | The Chromologist

Jan Davidsz Heem 2014 Fine Art Archival Pigment on Hanemuhle Courtesy and © Rebecca Louise Law and Tom Hartford

Rebecca Louise Law | Dutch Golden Age | The Chromologist

Ambrosius Bosschaart the Elder 2014 Courtesy and © Rebecca Louise Law and Tom Hartford

Dutch masters reimagined | Rebecca Louise Law | The Chromologist

Balthasar Van der Ast, Decayed 2014 Courtesy and © Rebecca Louise Law and Tom Hartford

The sculpture works – some in frames, brass cases or Victorian cloches and some still life works on a mantle – are then captured in photographs that document the various stages of decay and the two mediums juxtapose with each other throughout the exhibition. What the photographs capture are vivid colours jumping out from black backgrounds, making them feel more sinister than the 3D works and bringing the concept of life and death strongly to mind.

Nicola_Tree_Head_| Rebecca Louise Law | The Chromologist

Head 2014, Courtesy and © Rebecca Louise Law

TaenarisCatops | Rebecca Louise Law | The Chromologist

Taenaris Capos 2015 Courtesy Rebecca Louise Law

07_ RLL MIMOSA_1 | Rebecca Louise Law | The Chromologist

Mimosa 1 2016 Courtesy and © Rebecca Louise Law

PAVEIA_SUPERBIA | Rebecca Louise Law | The Chromologist

Paveia Superbia 2014 Courtesy and © Rebecca Louise Law

Rebecca has been working with flowers since 2003 having had an epiphany in the final year of her Fine Art degree. When she was growing up, her father worked as a landscape gardener for the National Trust and, when encouraged by a tutor to reflect on things that had shaped her life, she remembered how her parents had dried flowers in the attic. Since then her work has been a series of magnificent room installations, with this latest exhibition taking a slightly different turn.

In her Flora and Fauna piece, she collaborated with artist Rose Robson who ‘arranges’ birds in flight. The result is an abstract bouquet of fading blooms with unexpected wings jutting out, the colours giving the whole thing the mood of an Autumnal table setting for an upscale thanksgiving dinner or wedding, only one in which death is a bit more present than normal.

Flora&Fauna | Rebecca Louise Law | The Chromologist

Flora & Fauna 2015 Mixed flowers, copper wire, ethically sourced pheasants. Collaboration with artist Rose Robson. Courtesy Rebecca Louise Law, Rose Robson and Tom Hartford

The whole exhibition, vividly blending colour, nature and the macabre, is a must-see in our book. Catch it before it closes on the 9 October.


Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2018 | Farrow & Ball

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